A team of six volunteers have been probing the ‘political views’ tag, an information bar on the profile page of Facebook users, to determine a targeted propaganda, designed to suit constituency-based campaigning.
Taking media campaigning to another level, volunteers with the Bharatiya Janata Party have initiated a geographical profiling of voters on social media platforms, looking to probe their political affiliation status. This ‘targeted campaign’ is restricted within the range of 7 to 10 km of their local candidate. The pages are chosen on the basis of ‘likes’ a user marks on the party’s page.
For a week now, the team have been sending information including candidate’s agenda for the constituency, venue and time of public meetings as well as photos of campaign rallies to voters in a particular constituency for 25 BJP candidates in Mumbai based on his location.
“We have been mapping the information provided by Facebook users especially their political affiliations and their location to track voters in a particular constituency. Once we determine the specific voters in a constituency, we send them information related to the local candidate,” says Abhishek Dave (30), convenor, IT cell of BJP in Maharashtra. The cell has been mining information provided by Facebook users on their individual profiles.
The targeted online campaign is aimed for a better outreach in the state elections. “Unlike Lok Sabha elections where messages on social media were being sent across the country, this time we decided to narrow down the geographical area for a better impact.”
Citing an example, he says, “A message about a candidate in Dharavi will have no bearing on someone in Pune and therefore we decided to change our approach on social media.” The online campaign is not just for areas like Colaba, Versova, Borivali, Andheri, Byculla, Juhu, but also includes Asia’s second largest slum — Dharavi.